Is there any developmental trend in children’s scientific thinking?
Two girls, a six years old and an eleven years old were interviewed talking about why do things float and sink. It was found that there is a developmental trend in children’s scientific thinking. Young children do have their own way to see scientific concepts, they being most of the time different than what an adult see. Children at eleven years old may acknowledge the boat effect though they may not really understand the fact of it.
Sinking and Floating is a scientific concept. Objects float or sink depending on the material they are made of—whether they are heavy or light ‘for their size’. Air trapped inside objects reduces their effective density. This is also the case with boat-shaped objects.
In the interview Jessica the older girl predicted wright almost half of the objects at the question does it float or sink, while Emily, the younger girl predicted wright just twenty two per cent of the questions. The scientific understanding changes with age. This suggests that children do change their conceptual. Di Sessa, Reiner and Clement talked about problems in understanding scientific concepts. In the light of di Sessa this practical report will look at the problems that Jessica and Emily have in their scientifically thinking. It will be consider Piaget and Vygosky’s theories in researching the cognitive development. Vygosky states that scientific concepts are learnt by going from the general to particular, but in everyday life people generalise from individual observations. He also emphasised the role of the adult as teacher in helping and supporting the child to achieve a higher level of understanding than they would be capable of alone (Book 3, p. 294)
One of the teaching methods for children for sinking and floating could be practical experiences,
References: John Oates, Clare Wood and Andrew Grayson (2006) Psychological Development and Early Childhood, Milton Keynes, Blackwell, The Open University John Oates and Andrew Grayson (2004) Cognitive and Language Development in Children, Milton Keynes, Blackwell, The Open University Rachel George, John Oates and Clare Wood, (2006) Methods and Skills Handbook